The age-old debate: Should you punch a Nazi?
Here’s a new one: Should you hug one? Probably not, but a protester outside white supremacist Richard Spencer’s failed speech in Gainesville, Florida this week tried the tactic.
High school football coach Aaron Courtney approached Randy Furniss, who was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with swastikas and had been punched earlier.
“Why don’t you like me, dog?” Courtney, a black man, asked Furniss. “What is it? What is it?”
“I had the opportunity to talk to someone who hates my guts and I wanted to know why,” Courtney told the New York Daily News. “During our conversation, I asked him, ‘Why do you hate me? What is it about me? Is it my skin color? My history? My dreadlocks?’”
Furniss ignored the question, but Courtney kept trying.
“I reached over and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, ‘You changed his life,’” Courtney told the Daily News.
He asked again, “Why do you hate me?”
Furniss finally responded, “I don’t know.”
The video of their exchange shows a moving effort by Courtney to reach someone who harbors hateful beliefs. If nothing else, he managed to shut that one Nazi up for a moment.